Broadband access crucial to the Hill

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By TJ Taub

Dear Editor,

I see the county is once again pursuing the possibility of broadband. I hope this time, it will be an exercise that engages and educates the community about broadband benefits, services and options. Educating the community – prohibited in the last county study – is not, in and of itself, promoting a concept. Education allows for informed decision-making.I would also hope that this time the investigating team includes individuals who can and will speak for local business, medical and educational sectors as well as county government.Broadband could allow residents to avail themselves of many county services online, from home or office, minus challenges of time, parking, weather and accessibility. It could allow the county to perform some services, such as meter reading, as a remote function.Medical tests (LARGE files) and records could be conveyed in real time to specialists and clinics, near and far.Local students could be positioned nationally in a more competitive light with improved access to materials via the Internet, as well as the ability to take real-time interactive courses from universities across the country.Local retail and service businesses could expand their audiences and enhance Internet-related services and capabilities. The same is true for nonprofit organizations related to recreation, history, culture, tourism, service providers and more.Los Alamos would become a much more competitive player in the economic development arena.Phone, Internet and television services could be bundled versus la carte. Where offered, bundling saves consumers money on the services they engage.Last – and least – movie downloads at home would be quick as a whistle.The last county excursion into broadband suggested it would be relatively easy to train county utility workers to repair and maintain fiber optic broadband. The county would maintain infrastructure while specific services, as requested by subscribers, would be offered by specialized providers.Incumbent providers, such as Qwest or Comcast, generally don’t promote their broadband services in small communities, presumably due to limited profit margins. It appears, however, their position sometimes changes when a community demonstrates its determination to gain broadband and begins to consider other providers.I don’t know if we can make this work for Los Alamos. Without it, I don’t know how well we’ll survive as a community that must attract highly educated workers and their families.TJ TaubLos Alamos